Hey remember this post, where I told you about my desire to redesign some of my equipment?

Here is an update.  MoreBeer.com has been having a gadget sale so I pulled the trigger on a couple items to help with the rebuild.  First off I finally broke down and bought a brewing pump.  I plan to use this pump for do wort recirculation, transferring wort from the mash tun to the kettle, and performing a whirlpool chill with my somewhat new 50 foot immersion chiller.
The second piece of equipment I bought was a stainless false bottom, with pick-up tube and ball valve assembly.  I will put this in one of my converted kegs to make a direct fired mash tun.  I combination with the pump, this should allow me to heat strike water in the same vessel I plan to mash in.  Then I can recirc with the burner going to raise the temp for step mashing or at least to achieve an appropriate mashout at ~168F.

Hopefully, these two upgrades will start to make the wort generation phase a little easier, or at least more fun with more equipment.

On another note, I have been making some crystal clear wort lately.  My last two brew sessions resulted in wort that was crystal clear going from kettle to fermentor.  I performed my boil in my old 10 gallon stainless steel pot.  This pot has no valve on it at all. The limitation to this is that I have to either pour or siphon the wort out of it.  This past weekend, I tried something new…it’s called patience.

After I was done chilling, I used my sanitized brew spoon to create a very aggressive whirlpool.  Then I covered it and let it sit for a good 30 minutes.  Normally, I only let the wort sit for like 5 minutes because I am normally paranoid about leaving the cooled wort exposed to the air.  After 30 minutes I could practically see the bottom of the kettle through the Berliner Weisse I made.  I was astounded.  I racked the beer off using my auto-siphon and transfer ZERO, trub and hop debris.  The same technique was employed for the Ordinary Bitter I did the same day.  Again ZERO trub or hop debris into the kettle.

I am pretty excited to see how this impacts flavor of the beers.  Fermentation has been really thus far as best as I can tell from just looking at it.  (Gravity readings to come maybe tomorrow night).

So why work at getting clear wort?  Well first its usually just bragging rights to your process.  Secondly, it limits the amount of trub needed to settle out of the wort which helps clarity.  It also limits the amount of extra protein and hop vegetal matter in the fermentor which can effect yeast efficiency and flavors a bit.  Lastly, I want to reuse some of the yeast from the Ordinary Bitter for a Brown porter.  Less carry over of trub means a cleaner yeast for the next batch.  I also want to harvest yeast slurry from my upcoming lager attempt, so getting cleaner yeast for that is crucial too.

So now I am at a dilemma.  I had plans to redesign the wort kettle with a different pickup tube for transfer to fermentor.  But using my old pot with a racking setup is giving me exactly the results I want, as in clear wort.  Well I’ll have to see if I can get the larger 15.5 gallon keg/kettle to make the same efficient transfer with a pick up tube, so I don’t have to clean and sanitize the racking cane as often for siphoning.

I am still thinking it over and tinkering.  Stay tuned.